The question at hand is whether an episodic series about a struggling and inept Hollywood production company is meant to be fact or fiction. That’s the question laid before Brian A. Metcalf’s UnderDeveloped.
Bottom Dwellers Film is in serious trouble from every direction, and studio head Ralph (Tom Arnold) has to make some drastic changes to survive. His first step is to appoint a very inexperienced Stan (Brian A. Metcalf) as the department head. Why? Because he’s Asian. Ralph then teams up Stan with the more experienced Joe (Thomas Ian Nicholas), who would have be in charge…except he’s white.
Rounding out the team is failed art house producer Georgina (Shelley Regner), failed sex and action producer Karl (Samm Levine), and Livy (Kelly Arjen)—twin sister of an A-List Superstar as part of her rider to do a film with Bottom Dwellers. Stan then hires Drew (Lulu Jovovich) as his executive admin assistant/crush, who quickly gets fired and escorted off the lot.
In episode one of the six-part series, Ralph immediately fires Stan and Joe because their first-look deal with investor Brent (David Koechner) has been pulled off the table. Stan says he’ll take Joe and meet with Brent in person to broker a new deal.
“His first step is to appoint a very inexperienced Stan…Because he’s Asian.”
UnderDeveloped is a comedy series that leans heavily into comedy silliness for laughs. It’s also a satirical character comedy in that everyone is sorely unqualified for the jobs they have…much like actual Hollywood.
At the heart of the series is Ralph’s attempt to fix the studio’s problems by creating new and different problems. To address Hollywood’s real diversity problems, Ralph uses the fact that Stan is Asian and Georgina is a woman as diversity hires while at the same time hiring the rest of the team because he “owes” them in one way or the other. Is it possible the studio can succeed by sheer luck?
Episode one has an OK start, just introducing characters and their conflicts. The biggest one is between Stan and Joe. Joe really hates Stan and is biding his time before he fails. Stan, on the other hand, sees Joe as a complete ally. As a mockumentary, scenes are broken up with character confessions to further illuminate their personalities.
I’ve got to hand it to the show’s creator and star, Brian A. Metcalf. UnderDeveloped boasts a mix of veteran and emerging comedians. Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tom Arnold, David Koechner, and Samm Levine set a good foundation for the rest of the actors to elevate their game. There’s also a coolness factor that the series is shot on an actual Hollywood studio lot.
The quality of the show is suited for the internet versus broadcast television. The characters are a bit too silly to be taken seriously but funny enough to root for our naive hero Stan thrown into the chaotic cesspool of Hollywood. Each scene ends with a punchline, so we’re here for the laughs.
For screening information, visit the UnderDeveloped Facebook page.
"…boasts a mix of veteran and emerging comedians."